Motherhood brings surprising changes to all areas of our lives and friendships are no exception. Old friends are great, but if they don’t have children of their own, they will probably not understand you fascination with your baby’s crazy sleep patterns or your sudden urge to rush home in the middle of your coffee date because you’ve forgotten to bring a spare nappy. To thrive as a mum you need a community of people who understand you – other mums.
Where can you meet other mums?
- Ante-natal class
If you took an ante-natal course with other couples whose babies were due around the same dates, you already have people you can reach out to. Organise a get-together with all the babies or contact one-two people who you got along well with and invite them for a playdate.
- Mothers’ group
Formal mothers’ groups are usually set up by Early Childhood Centres or hospitals. They organise the first few meetings for you and you will have a facilitator who brings in a different topic each time that is of interest to new mums (and usually no one else). After the set number of meetings, it’s up to you to continue with the group or not.
There’re tons of online places where you can meet new mums – Facebook groups and parenting forums, just to mention a few. It can take a bit longer to find people who live in your area and organise face-to-face meetings, but it’s well worth it. I’ve found that the friendships that I’ve started online tend to be stronger, because I’m not meeting a complete stranger just on the basis that both of us are mums. We’ve already interacted and liked each other online, so it’s easier to hit it off in offline conversations.
- Local playgrounds
Most of us don’t take our baby to the playground until they’re at least able to sit on the swing, but once you do, you’ll notice the same parents and kids at the playground again and again, You’ll inevitably strike a conversation and it can progress from there.
Tips for making new mum friends
- Be authentic
There’s often a bit of competition going on between mums – who’s coping better, whose babies sleep through the night first and hit their milestones faster. Don’t get sucked into that! It’s easy to feel left out when everyone is sharing their great achievements and you’re feeling that your motherhood journey doesn’t measure up, but sharing how things really are can help in two ways. It can open the opportunity for others to share (who may feel intimidated otherwise) and it helps you find real friends who see the real you.
- Make the first move
When you find yourself enjoying a conversation with another mum, don’t just let her walk away. Ask when she’ll be coming again, get her phone number and maybe, even arrange your first playdate.
- Be selective
It doesn’t mean you have to get along with someone only because you have kids that are the same age. Focus your efforts on the people who have similar interests and a great personality, and you’ll soon have your network of amazing friends that you love.
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